It was purely coincidence that the trays of brightly colored floral arrangements rolled into the lobby of the Heights of Tyler during an afternoon Bible study - three days before Easter.
Amidst the singing of hymns and a hopeful Bible study message, Gloria Washington, founder and executive director of Heart for Hearts, and Pat Self, a volunteer with the organization, began passing out the flowers to residents in the room.
Many of the residents smiled and hugged them, while some even shed tears. Mary Patterson, resident at the Heights, said she once had a garden and that receiving flowers made her feel happy.
“They’re gorgeous,” Ms. Patterson said about the bouquet of roses she received. “It makes me feel so good inside. People really care and love us.”
A self-described flower lady, Mrs. Washington once worked in a green house for more than 20 years and is currently a florist and owner of Lyons Avenue Florist and Gifts.
She was inspired to start the program Heart for Hearts program after the death of her husband, Herbert B. Washington on May 18, 2016. Through the program, Mrs. Washington donates floral arrangements to individuals in hospices, nursing homes, hospitals, group homes and more.
“My husband was a giver and he was a compassionate person,” she said. “His compassion for people and my compassion for people led me in this direction.”
Mrs. Washington said she only recently started the Heart for Hearts program -which operates under the nonprofit Empowerment Ministries - and hopes the ministry continues to grow. She has been encouraged by the reactions of those who receive the flowers, such as Wanda Snow, a resident at the Heights.
“It makes we want to cry they’re so beautiful,” Ms. Snow said.
HOW TO HELP:
To learn more information about how to donate to Heart for Hearts, contact the program’s Executive Director Gloria Washington at 903-283-6089 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.